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Potential Side Effects from Surgery for Soft Tissue Sarcoma

The goal of surgery for soft tissue sarcoma is to remove all or as much as possible of your tumor. However, it is not without potential side effects. Before your surgery, your surgeon will explain these possible side effects to you. After surgery, your health care team will work closely with you to manage or relieve as many side effects as possible. Here are some possible side effects that people with soft tissue sarcoma have after surgery. Ask your doctor which ones are the most likely to happen to you.

  • Pain in the area where the tumor was removed or near the incision

  • Problems with anesthesia

  • Loss of function in the area where the tumor was removed (temporary or permanent)

  • Slower than normal healing

  • Infection

  • Inability to drive, lift, cook, or perform other daily activities until you heal

  • Depression or anxiety

  • Chronic swelling of the arm or leg

In addition, if the tumor was large, you may need a skin graft over the wound. Depending on where your tumor was, you may need to keep the wound raised during recovery to prevent swelling.

While no one can completely avoid the side effects of surgery, your health care team can offer many tips to make your recovery from surgery as smooth as possible.